What is Cloud Migration?

by Garrett Alley  
5 min read  • 19 Dec 2018

According to the latest update to the International Data Corporation, worldwide spending on public cloud services and infrastructure is forecast to reach $160 billion in 2018, an increase of 23.2% over 2017. We are experiencing a major uptick in cloud migration.

Cloud migration defined

When companies move their data and applications from their premises to the cloud, this process is called cloud migration. The process may involve moving all your applications and services, or it may take a slower approach where some applications are moved to the cloud, while others remain on-premise. This approach is called a hybrid migration. In either case, a cloud data warehouse can provide you many benefits over your on-premise solution.

Key advantages to moving to the cloud

Companies move to the cloud for many reasons. Below are just a few of the ways in which moving to the cloud can be a winning decision for your organization.

  • Cost-effective. When you maintain your own data warehouse onsite, you are responsible for maintaining the infrastructure and workforce to support every aspect of your warehouse. But when you move to the cloud, you can get the benefit of world-class infrastructure while saving money.
  • Simplified. Much of the complexity of a data warehouse can be handled by a team of product experts at a cloud data warehouse provider. This means your employees can focus on the things that really matter, like growing your business.
  • Scalable. One of the biggest advantages of the cloud is scalability. Whether you are scaling up quickly or slowly, a cloud data warehouse can accommodate you.
  • Secure. Cloud data warehouses are responsible for providing services that meet common compliance requirements, including certifications like SOC 2, ISO27001, HIPAA, and PCI. When you move to the cloud, a team of security experts is part of the bargain.

For more details on the benefits of cloud migration, see The Benefits of Cloud Migration.

Types of cloud migration tools

You have a few options for the types of tools you can use to migrate to the cloud.

  • Open source: Open source solutions can be customized at just about every level, and they are often free or low-cost. The downside is that you will likely need experienced staff to make the customizations.
  • Batch processing: Batch processing tools work well in environments where large amounts of data are moved or processed at regularly scheduled times (often nightly, when network and equipment use is low).
  • Cloud-based: Cloud-based migration tools typically offer the most seamless experience, tying together data and the cloud with connectors and tool sets designed for that specific task.

Cloud migration challenges

The larger and more complex your company's current infrastructure, the harder it may be to move to the cloud. Like any big change, there are challenges involved in moving to the cloud.

Replanning your data model

You will almost certainly need to change your data model. Different cloud data warehouses support different types of schemas. In addition, the data types may be different. For example, Snowflake introduces VARIANT, OBJECT, and ARRAY to support semi-structured data.

Planning for security

You are probably concerned about how you will maintain secure data when you move it to the cloud where you have less control. Security is a concern during and after migration. What's more, sensitive data is often subject to compliance requirements, which can be hard to support during the migration process.

Moving stored procedures

If you use stored procedures, you may be surprised to find out that this solution isn’t commonly supported in cloud environments. Migrating these stored procedures to a cloud data warehouse can be challenging.

Think marathon, not sprint — the hybrid solution

When you move a large data warehouse to the cloud, you may benefit by pacing your migration efforts to ensure a smooth transition. One approach to a multi-step transition is to use a hybrid solution: maintaining your data on-premise while moving your business applications to the cloud. While this approach for migrating to the cloud may take a little longer, you can still benefit from the efficiencies of the cloud while minimizing disruption. For example, say you have a traditional data warehouse hosted on-premise. You can replicate the data and pipe it to a cloud data warehouse, such as Snowflake, and run your cloud-based business intelligence tools on Snowflake. You maintain the data and legacy applications on-premise while updating the replicated data continuously in the cloud. This allows you to migrate to cloud-based BI tools while maintaining your existing infrastructure until you are ready to move it.

Alooma can be an essential partner in managing a hybrid solution, handling the initial stages of copying your data to the cloud, and later supporting the continuous replication of data to your cloud environment — while protecting your data with world-class security. Alooma can help translate from an on-premise schema, such as Oracle, to a cloud schema, such as Snowflake. Alooma can even infer the schema from the structure of the data. Once Alooma determines the schema, it can start streaming immediately. And it can continue to update the cloud data warehouse in near real time.

Why choose Alooma for cloud migration?

While there are many ETL tools to choose from, Alooma stands apart for the following reasons:

  • We can connect anything — We support the widest range of source formats and data destinations with low latency, scalability, and accuracy.
  • We can update your data in near real time — Unlike many other ETL tools, which are batch-based, Alooma can update your data continuously.
  • We can scale large and small — Alooma supports any number of inputs, from low to high volume, so you can start integrating and streaming your data in minutes, not months.
  • We are security experts — Data security is a cornerstone of our business. Alooma is proudly 100% SOC 2 Type II, ISO27001, HIPAA, and GDPR compliant, and our supported cloud service providers meet the strictest standards in the industry.

If you are ready to see how Alooma can help make your cloud migration a breeze, contact us.

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